Big news out of Australia where the first national arts policy since 2013 was announced. In addition to commitments of funding to specific entities and organizations, arguably the most significant element of the policy is a commitment “….to protect First Nations knowledge and cultural expressions, with a particular brief on cracking down on fake art that plagues the $250m-a-year Australian Indigenous art market.”
Other elements of the plan include the establishment of a poet laureate position which last existed during the country’s convict era, a state of the arts report to be issued every three years, and the establishment of “a quota for expenditure on Australian content by multinational streaming platforms such as Netflix and Stan..” The amount of this quota is rumored to be about 20% and The Guardian article quotes people who are concerned streaming platforms may pull out of the country if they are required to produce Australia based content.
It happens that I saw a piece on Vice last night before I saw The Guardian article. Vice asked Australian artists what they thought about the plan. Many felt the money was going to the usual suspects and advocated for a universal basic income plan for artists.
Others felt that the arts were unfunded in proportion to their footprint:
“The arts sector will get $286M over four years, or $72M a year. The fossil fuel industry gets $11.6B a year in government subsidies. Australia’s arts sector employs about six times as many people as the fossil fuel sector.
The requirement for locally generated content was cause for hope for some:
“I started to lose hope in local content knowing that reality TV filled up much of our “Australian” quota on broadcast networks. The possibility of streaming services now being made to spend 20% of their budget on original, local content honestly makes me feel hopeful and excited to pursue my career on my home turf.”